Rejected! – Falling at the First Hurdle With Stock Photography
Posted Monday, 9 July 2007 by Chris Garrett in Photography
What is the first step many wannabe stock photographers make? I would say for most of us it is to upload some old pics and see how many make it. Read on to see how my first step turned into a stumble, and what I learned from it ...
Submitting your pictures leaves you feeling a little exposed. Most of us don't particularly enjoy rejection and stock photo sites with high quality standards reject a lot. Oh man, how they reject!
They have to, of course. Companies like Crestock are in the business of providing high quality images. If the library doesn't make the grade then who is going to buy them?
But that doesn't make us feel any better when we upload pictures we think are fantastic only to get knocked back.
For my first ever submission I decided to grab eight pictures at random from my Flickr library. While all of them were images I liked, they are in my Flickr account after all, I didn't choose any I particularly expected to get accepted. My ego is too fragile, heh.
Take a look at my pictures below and try to guess which were accepted and which were rejected. Extra points for guessing why. After each I will explain the result and the reasoning. I wonder how many of you will guess correctly 100% ... I know I wasn't expecting what happened next:
Toronto Downtown Evaluation: Rejected!Reason:
Brand names and logos. Even tiny, squinty, unobtrusive logos could panic a buyer away from using an image.Advice:
Clone out logos carefully and resubmit.
Rogers Centre Toronto Evaluation: Rejected!Reason:
Again the issues are the brands, copyright, and such. This time it's not just the "Rogers Centre" logo but the artwork on the outside too. Another complication could be the baseball players, would I need model releases? It could be just too risky.Advice:
Aim to not include anything that could cause legal problems down the line.
Out of focus and bad composition. Also recognisable logo/artwork.Advice:
If taking a photograph of a bouquet, choose if you want it to be a closeup or in whole. My attempt is neither one or the other. Also remove the florist's card, or at least clone the detail out. Most of all, make sure it is in focus and well lit!
Cooling TowersEvaluation: Borderline, but rejected!Reason:
From my keywords it is hard to tell if this is a landmark, and therefore interesting, or just an uninspiring picture of some dumb old cooling towers.Advice:
Add detailed keywords or take more interesting compositions!
CN TowerEvaluation: Rejected!Reason:
Artifacts and fringingAdvice:
Don't use your bog-standard software if you expect to get a good approval rate. This picture was exported from Apple iPhoto and it shows. Also it was taken with my Canon 10-22mm lens which is notorious for colour fringing in these conditions. If shooting RAW files, this can in most cases be corrected in post processing.
Chaffinch, British Bird in natural habitatEvaluation: Approved!Reason:
While at full size it exhibits some focus issues, it is good enough to be admitted in at a lower res – hurrah!Advice:
Use a tripod and a high shutter speed to make sure there are no shake or focus problems if you want to get maximum approvals and the best prices!
Downtown CalgaryEvaluation: Rejected!Reason:
Underexposed, composition. Those dark areas need bringing up to show the detail. On top of that the main area of interest, the tower, is not particularly the hero of the shot.Advice:
Make it obvious what the subject of your picture is and be careful with exposure.
Banff Night SceneEvaluation: Rejected!Reason:
This pic has got it all, artifacts, blur and logos! Not surprising when you think I was dashing across an icy road when I took it, heh. Advice:
While it might be a much-loved tourist snap, this isn't going to sell unless all the issues are taken care of. Next time, tripod, metering, and most of all, Photoshop!
So there you are, one accepted out of eight submitted! How many did you guess correctly?
OK, disapointing performance on my part but I did learn a great deal and will be better armed for next time. Most of the issues are relatively painless to sort out either when you take the picture or later in Photoshop.
The key learning is to think like a buyer, what do they need and what might put them off? Only by creating sellable
pictures will we succeed in this game!
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